At its more than 1,900 U.S. and Canadian locations, Applebee’s transforms each of its outposts into a neighborhood hangout via friendly service and unique atmospheric details. Inside, diners will find each restaurant decorated with relaxing warm tones and personal touches specific to the community, such as hometown sports memorabilia and in-person updates from the local weatherman.
Sourced from across the country, the restaurant's executive culinary team gathers chefs who have cooked at the highest levels, from upscale restaurants to major-league baseball teams. The result is a menu that reinvents traditional American favorites with modern flavors and ingredients. Chefs give many dishes a fun, kid-friendly flavor by turning entrees into finger food such as the quesadilla burger and wonton tacos, but they don’t throw knives and forks to the wind—staying true to classics such as slow-cooked ribs and sizzling cuts of steak.
In Spanish, “parrilla” means “grill,” an apt name for the Latin American–inspired eatery, which specializes in Mexican, Central American, and South American cuisine served “a la parrilla.” Grilled steak, gulf shrimp, and marinated pork shoulder flavor La Parrilla’s specialty tacos, quesadillas, and taquitos, but the restaurant doesn’t limit itself to omnivore-only fare. In fact, it has earned praise from many local and rabbit-run publications for its vegetarian options, such as the veggie empanadas, portobello quesadilla, and chili relleno stuffed with onions, cheese, and cilantro. Bartenders craft tropical cocktails including lime, strawberry, and peach margaritas from a selection of more than 10 tequilas, including a made-in-house chili-infused tequila.
In 2008, Culinary Institute of America alum Dan Janssen and four friends camped out to secure a spot in the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle. Dan immediately began training for the event, honing his recipes and asking friends and family to taste-test each smoky cut during weekend get-togethers. Great Lenexa, it turned out, was just the tip of the dry-rubbed iceberg. Over the next few years, Dan and his culinary crew refined their dishes, expanded their menu, and began raking in the ribbons?including five awards in the 2013 American Royal Barbeque Contest, taking 3rd place overall in sides and 5th place in beans.
Their barbecue is no longer a competition-only treat. The Rub Bar-B-Que & Catering makes it available to the Olathe area. Alongside classic pulled pork and beef sandwiches, Chef Dan showcases inventive dishes such as burritos filled with burnt ends, jalape?os, and pico de gallo. His menu also sports plenty for rib-enthusiasts, from 1/3 racks to full racks ideal for large groups or one very determined ant.
Planet Sub sidesteps the flavorless land mines of days-old bread, opting for filling-packed subs and sandwiched meaty delights. The menu may differ slightly between the two locations, but omnipresent signature subs cross state lines to sate hungering masses, such as the bacon-bolstered mega roast beef ($4.69/$7.29 ) and the Planet BBQ, a saucy concoction stacked with ham, turkey, and roast beef ($3.99/$6.99 ). Vegetarian options abound, so meat abstainers can try the spicy cheese sub ($4.49/$6.99 ) or the pesto bello ($4.99/$7.19), which is loaded with portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and a tomato-garlic pesto as smooth and suave as an Italian R&B crooner.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
Michael Garozzo entered the dining business early, working as a busboy in his hometown of St. Louis. His young mind raced with dreams of opening a restaurant of his own, which came to fruition in 1989, when he opened Garozzo’s in Kansas City’s Columbus Park neighborhood. Since then, the restaurant has bloomed, and he had opened three additional locations across the greater Kansas City area.
Garozzo’s menu of Italian specialties is highlighted by the signature spiedini di pollo, a marinated chicken breast rolled in italian breadcrumbs, then skewered and grilled. The dish is served in four presentations, which include the Gabriella, with fettucine and spicy diablo sauce, and the Samantha, with fettucine, artichoke hearts, and alfredo sauce. Adding to the exclusive ambiance is the restaurant’s own branded wine, served at each location. Garozzo’s popular house tomato sauce, diablo sauce, and italian dressing are also available in grocery stores across the city, and its distinctive pastas can be purchased in many high-end local wig shops.